Primary and secondary school children to be taught by IT savvy teachers

Sep 23 - 29, 2002

Imagine if you can, Information Technology (IT) being deployed at the grass root level. Young children of primary and secondary schools being taught subjects like Science, Mathematics, History and Islamiat by IT savvy teachers. They deploy IT, as a tool, to enhance student learning in their curriculum. Imagine the rich future of such a nation.

It is an undisputed fact that the economy of the future depends on the quality of a nation's education system and its schools and the ability of future generation to face the emerging challenges. In Pakistan, investment by the federal government and local governments in classroom technology has increased access to computers and Internet connectivity, but more often than not teachers are not prepared to use it. Investing in professional development for teachers that will enable them to use computers effectively to help students attain highest standards is most needed.

Efforts by the private sector, like Intel Pakistan Corporation, will go a long way in enabling the generation of tomorrow to a bright future. The Intel's education initiative - Intel Teach to The Future Programme was launched earlier this year in Pakistan and have achieved phenomenal results in a very short span of time.

This programme, with support from Microsoft, is a worldwide initiative to help teachers effectively integrate the use of computer technology into classroom curriculum to improve student learning and achievement. Intel believes that technology can advance education when teachers have the knowledge to effectively integrate it into the curriculum. Intel Teach to The Future is not a traditional cash or equipment-based donation programme. The most important being, it is not a computer "literacy" or "how to operate a PC or surf the Net" skills training effort. Instead, it is an innovative programme designed to teach teachers how to integrate technology into the classroom curricula they are currently following. Presently students are competing in an environment that is increasingly dominated by technology, yet teachers are not prepared to effectively integrate computers and PC technology into students' learning.

The importance being attached can be gauged by the quotation of Craig Barrett, Intel's President and Chief Operating Officer. He said, "The scope of this programme represents the industry's recognition that all the educational technology in classrooms today is worth nothing if teachers do not know how to use it effectively. Computers are not magic, teachers are".

Launched in 2000, Intel Teach to the Future is a worldwide effort to help teachers integrate technology into their classrooms to enhance student learning. Available throughout the United States and in 24 other countries, Intel Teach to the Future will train more than 500,000 teachers worldwide by the end of year 2002. Intel has an investment plan of US$ 100 million in cash, equipment, curriculum development and programme management.

The Intel Teach to the Future programme in Pakistan was formally launched in May 2001. The programme in Pakistan has been launched and followed in close collaboration with the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Education at both the federal and local government levels. Over 13,000 teachers from public and private schools have been trained in deploying IT in 14 cities across the country. A lot of dedication and commitment has been put into this programme, the entire curriculum has been customized, based on the requirements of the local teachers.

Intel Pakistan has set more aggressive targets for the next year. However, such a programme can not be implemented without active support from the government. It is an investment in future for preparing today's teachers and students to face tomorrow's challenges.